20 inspiring Pittsburgh ladies you might want to know

Past and present, these Pittsburgh women have made incredible contributions here in Pittsburgh and across the country.

Published on Friday, March 19, 2021

This story is by Amanda Reed – you can see Amanda’s other stories for Very Local Pittsburgh here and follow her on Twitter @reedcat_.

March is a month of many things. There’s St. Patrick’s Day; There is Pi Day and the Ides of March in a row; and there are tons of random things to celebrate. But above all, March is the month of women’s history.

To celebrate, here are 20 inspiring Pittsburgh women you should google asap. Think of it this way: Appreciating and sharing their stories is far more enjoyable (and impactful) than drinking cheap, poorly colored beer that is colored green.

Morris is a former therapist turned local historian and writer who is behind “The Historical Dilettante,” a local blog that uncovers lost gems from Pittsburgh’s past. From posts about a three-legged dog in the Northside to the only woman associated with the Homestead Strike, you’re sure to learn something new.

Young, a local tech freelancer and YouTuber, uses her platform to help her followers – including black women – get into the tech industry. With an incredibly small number of people in the tech industry identifying as a person of color, Young is an inspiration and a valuable resource for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Squirrel Hill’s Stage is a horror writer whose work has been described as “Shirley Jackson meets ‘The Shining'”. With a background in the movie, her work fills the creepy hole in our souls all year round.

The owner of the South Atlantic Stitching Company gives “women’s work” a new meaning with her modern interpretation of traditional handicrafts. Listen to our interview with Julie here.

Blackwell is the founder and CEO of Knotzland, which creates and sells sustainably made, chic, chic Bowties. What is there not to love?

  • Nisha Blackwell and Knotzland were featured in The Verge recently.

Renee, a local pastry chef, has twice been named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award and was a nominee for “Best Baker in America” ​​by the Food Network. Sounds pretty cute to us.

  • Check out our interview with Casey here and don’t miss our video where Casey shows us how to make a classic local dessert, a strawberry pretzel salad.

Kogel is a recipe developer, stylist, photographer and longtime blogger through her website With The Grains. She became the author of “The Gluten Free Grains Cookbook” in 2019, filled with gluten-free recipes that will make you feel full and fulfilled. In her words: “Think of me as your gluten translator who won’t screw you and who wants to go to the halfsies over brunch.”

As a fashion designer, writer, curator, Idia can do anything from writing to Star Trek uniforms to creating an entire line of clothing inspired by the animals of Pittsburgh. She is even a co-host of a podcast. Tereneh, any management recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Innamorato represents District 21 in Pittsburgh in the House of Representatives and provides nearly 60,000 Pittsburgh residents with an advanced platform, including women’s rights.

In 2018, Lee became the first black woman from southwest Pennsylvania to hold the office of state representative, winning a race against a 20-year-old incumbent with more than 60 percent of the vote. Aside from supporting progressive ideals like ending mass imprisonment and universal health care, their gif game is fire too.

Semler is an Etna councilor and columnist for the Pittsburgh Current. In the council she represents the younger population of Etna and supports many green initiatives.

Tamara Tunie is a Pittsburgh-born actress who has starred in films, television, and theater. Tunie has many Pittsburgh connections. She grew up in McKeesport, graduated from CMU, and has returned to the area to perform with local theaters.

  • Tunie was last seen in the movie “Irreplaceable You,” which is currently streamed on Netflix.

Allen was the former director of jazz studies at the University of Pittsburgh. As a renowned jazz pianist, she was nominated in 2015 for a Grammy for the best historical album for the co-production of “The Complete Concert by the Sea”, an expanded version of Erroll Garner’s “Concert by the Sea”.

As a local outlet, we would be a thorn in our side not to mention Nellie Bly, an investigative journalist who paved the way for women in the industry through her coverage of mental illness and the women’s movement.

German is a sculptor, painter, writer, activist, performer and poet in Homewood. Her art has been shown in galleries, museums and traveling exhibitions, including the 2012 traveling exhibition “African American Art 1950 – present” at the Smithsonian Institute. She also runs the ARThouse in Homewood.

Philyaw’s first collection of short stories, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, which won the 2020-21 Story Prize, was a finalist for the National Book Prize for Fiction 2020, finalist for the PEN / Faulkner Prize for Fiction 2021 and is currently being published and adapted for television on HBO Max with Tessa Thompson Executive Producing.

Dawn Lundy Martin is an American poet, essayist, and activist. She is the co-founder and director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh, one of the few poetry centers in the country devoted to the subject.

Falk is the founder of Women In Tech Pittsburgh and Sex Tech Space and the managing director of Women of Sex Tech. In 2019 she was awarded the BiTCH 50 for science and technology by BiTCH Media.

Harvey is a poet and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also the author of Marvel Comics’ “World of Wakanda,” one of the first two black women to write for Marvel.

Davidson is the founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor, a mentoring program founded in 2017 that brings refugee families together with committed neighbors after relocation to help them adjust to the US and make new friends.

  • Check out our interview with Sloane here.

📸 Header photos: Gabrianna Dacko, Paul Vladuchick., Boaz Frankel

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